Concert/Film/TV Reviews

ATL Horror Film Festival 2021 Day 1: Animated Trauma, Body Gore and Merciless Wolves

Recap of the first day of the Atlanta Horror Film Festival

BLOCK 5: BUST A GUT

Ready for some comedy with your horror? Of course you are.

When I Explode (Angela Raajimakers, Netherlands)

Imagine having your 30th birthday party turned upside down by realizing there’s a ticking time bomb growing from your stomach. What we soon realize is the “bomb” is a metaphor for the insecurities we all have within us. For our main character, Chris, it’s the fear of being alone and not mattering. I won’t lie — I was kind of hoping to see that belly blow up but we horror fans all need an occasional happy ending.

The Lake Parasite (Joe Reilly, USA)

Alright, we have a winner for the funniest film of Day 1. The Lake Parasite might resemble the Rubber Man from American Horror Story, but the former is a lot goofier and has a strange habit of making Toxic Avenger-like noises when ripping out body parts or killing beach goers with frisbees. The over the top the presentation is a nice nod to the classic monster cinema days with a sprinkle of 80s wretched excess. This is even more impressive when find out it was accomplished on a two-man crew!

The Mill Creek Strangler (Aaron Egbert Allsop)

What goes through the mind of serial killer “superfans?” This short nails the ridiculousness of celebrity culture and how it seeps over into even the most reprehensible figures. You know you’ve got issues when even a serial killer is repulsed by your kinks.

We Three Queens (Chris Agoston, Canada)

On Christmas Eve, a trio of carollers are kidnapping by a fan named Shelly who wants to make it a foursome. Now, they must negotiate with Shelly to get free before we hit Christmas. Rachel Wilson makes a great turn as Shelly with how quickly she goes from personable to murderous, giving us those Kathy Bates in Misery vibes.

Strangers in the Night (Richard Keith Quintero, USA)

A bored serial killer tired of living under quarantine gets more than he bargained for after picking up a hitchhiker. Turns out our first killer wasn’t the only one with the bright idea of picking up a stranger, so we’re treated to a funny pissing contest about kill counts and who has the best nickname. Anyone up for an Avengers-styled serial killer team?

Welcome to Our Home (Gregory M. Schroe, USA)

Want to bring out the worst in people? Talk politics! This film takes a zany approach to the always nerve-wracking scenario of meeting your significant other’s parents. Things inevitably come to a head and the combatants soon realize how similar they are once they “turn” on each other. I enjoyed the makeup design in the ending sequence, made all the more better since it comes out of nowhere.

Fat Camp (Sacha Pavlovic, Canada)

Men need to be men! And in this fat camp for men, that includes shedding their husky weight and getting back in shape. Unfortunately, the camp is also the site were a former member supposedly drowned 20 years ago and is back for revenge. Despite the obvious Friday the 13th storyline nod, the VHS presentation and humor takes its flair more from the Evil Dead series. Full hysterical one-liners and extravagant kills.

Hysteria (Anssi Maatta, Finland)

A “dangerous” fog is causing people to go insane and has forced a woman named Hannele to remain trapped in her car. The isolation forces her to rely on the radio and cell phone for news updates, making this a slick callback to the brief hysteria that resulted from the famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast.

Hiya Janice (Rob hayes, UK)

Microaggressions at work add up. Just ask Declan, who’s subjected to unrelenting belittling and condescending remarks from his “well-meaning” co-worker Janice. So when the zombie apocalypse hits, he has to pick his poison — holding up with Janice or fighting flesh-eating zombies? Poor Declan, but I fully understand his choice.

****

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